MLB Rumors

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D-Backs prospect Will Locante turning heads with improved command
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

Diamondbacks prospect Will Locante was advised by the organization a few years ago to lower his arm angle in hopes of improving his command. As a result, Locante has turned heads with a mid-to-upper 90s fastball and slider from a low, slinging arm slot during his most recent live batting practice on Thursday, according to the Arizona Republic.

"He throws really hard, his arm angle, his slider, the sink on his fastball -- all those things make him really hard to hit," manager Chip Hale said. "Those are those impact, lefty arms that are hard to find."

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Yankees' Burton: I want to re-emerge as one of the better RPs in majors
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Yankees reliever Jared Burton is in camp on a minor-league deal trying to earn a spot in the bullpen. Even though spring training just began, Burton likes how he is throwing the baseball, per NJ.com.

"I still think my stuff is as good as it's been," said Burton, who typically uses a fastball-changeup combination. "It's just the beginning of spring training. Everybody feels pretty fresh. But I feel like the ball is really coming out of my hand pretty well right now."

Although Burton didn't have an awful year in 2014, he is hoping he can bounce back in some regards since his ERA (4.36) was well higher than his career ERA (3.44) and his strikeout total also dropped last season.

"There's a little extra motivation as well," he said. "So I want to reestablish myself as one of the better relievers in the game."

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A's plan to keep Coco Crisp out of early Cactus League games
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

In an attempt to keep him fresh for the start of the season, the Athletics are expected to keep Coco Crisp out of game action in early on in the Cactus League exhibition season, per the Bay Area News Group. Crisp recently told reporters that he will ease up a bit in 2015 after collisions with outfield walls led to neck pain in 2014.

He was limited to only 126 games last season. He has not played more than 136 games since 2007.

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Brewers SP Jimmy Nelson dealing with minor hamstring injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson rested again Friday due to a hamstring injury, according to MLB.com. However, manager Ron Roenicke continues to indicate it is not a serious injury.

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McClendon not considering Erasmo Ramirez as relief option for M's
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Mariners starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez is out of minor-league options and faces an uphill battle to make the starting rotation, but manager Lloyd McClendon saod Friday he is not looking at Ramirez as a potential reliever, per MLB.com.

“We’ve got some talented arms in that bullpen,” McClendon said. “The competition may be even stiffer down there.”

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Reds' Homer Bailey after 'pen session: 'It was kind of really rewarding'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey completed a 20-pitch bullpen session on Friday without any issues, per the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"I've been looking forward to it, really," Bailey said. "Even in the offseason, playing catch and stuff, you see guys throw bullpens and in your mind, you think you can still do it. Getting out of a brace the first time, you think you can walk on the mound and throw, and that's not necessarily the case. It was kind of really rewarding, it felt really good."

Bailey, who is coming off September elbow surgery, is in danger of starting the season on the disabled list. The right-hander was limited to 23 starts in 2014, posting a 9-5 record with a 3.71 ERA. It was the first time in three seasons he finished with less than 10 wins.

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McClendon: Iwakuma still throwing bullpens, but 'everything is fine'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

While most of Seattle's pitchers are tossing live batting practice, Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma threw his third bullpen session of the spring Friday, per MLB.com. However, manager Lloyd McClendon stressed the veteran pitcher is not behind due to injury.

“This is by design,” McClendon said. “We’re just stretching him out a little more. Kuma is A-OK and everything is fine. He has no issues at all. I don’t think he needs the live BPs. The guy is such a technician, he gets more done in a bullpen session than he would in a live BP.”

Iwakuma was 12-6 with a 2.57 ERA in his first 21 starts last season before going 3-3 with a 7.88 ERA in his final seven outings. 

“I kind of ran out of gas there,” he said through translator Antony Suzuki. “It wasn’t like I was very, very tired. I was just fatigued mentally and physically and that’s something I need to work on in spring training.

“I’m very excited (for 2015). It’s a different year compared to where I was last year. I’m very motivated. I look forward to the season and I’m looking forward to a good spring training.”

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Yankees' Brendan Ryan to miss five days of camp with back strain
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

Yankees infielder Brendan Ryan underwent a precautionary MRI on his back which revealed a mid-back strain, the team announced. The injury occurred while lifting weights in the days leading up to the start of spring training, and it will keep him sidelined from on-field activities for approximately five days.

Ryan, who is seeking more playing time this season, hit .167 over 114 at-bats in 2014.

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Mets' Matt Harvey in 'compete mode' after facing live hitters
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey told reporters he didn't hold back when he faced batters Friday for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in October 2013. Hitters were instructed to track the pitches and not swing.

"I was in 'compete mode,'" Harvey said, per Newsday. "I wasn't holding back."

Harvey, who missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to make his spring debut March 6 against Detroit. It will be his first game action since Aug. 14, 2013.

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Royals OF Alex Gordon (wrist) cleared to hit off a tee
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Royals manager Ned Yost said Friday outfielder Alex Gordon (wrist) has been cleared to progress to the next step in his hitting progression and can now hit off a tee, per The Kansas City Star.

“He’s progressing fine,” Yost said.

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